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Image: Springsteen Rehearsals
Mel Evans  /  AP
Bruce Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa play guitars together as Springsteen and the E Street Band perform at Asbury Park's Paramount Theater on Sept. 24.
updated 9/25/2007 10:39:51 AM ET 2007-09-25T14:39:51

It might have been billed as a rehearsal, but Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band showed 3,000 fans he still has the magic.

The show Monday at the oceanfront Convention Hall was the first of two benefit rehearsals for Springsteen and his band, who are about to embark on their first tour together in four years to support their new album, “Magic,” due out Oct. 2.

“We’re going to run through some things, some new things, some old things. There may be some mistakes — but I doubt it,” Springsteen warned the crowd.

Before the show ended two hours and 21 songs later, Springsteen would chuckle, “Well, so there were a few mistakes.”

Not that any errors mattered to the faithful, who paid $100 a ticket. Despite the many balding heads and paunchy middles, the audience greeted nearly every song with enthusiasm that ranged from pandemonium to delirium.

Springsteen, 58, responded with equal energy in covering three decades of work. He delighted the fans not only with his vocals and some harmonica solos, but when trading guitar riffs with longtime band members Steve Van Zandt and Nils Lofgren.

A second benefit rehearsal was to be held Tuesday at the oceanfront Convention Hall, in this city made famous through his songs. A third was scheduled for Friday at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford.

Asbury Park and the boardwalk where the Convention Hall is located have been featured prominently in the New Jerseyan’s work. His first album was titled “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.,” and the boardwalk Casino was the scene of the title track video for his 1987 “Tunnel of Love” album. Blocks away is the famed Stone Pony nightclub, where Springsteen has performed many times.

Springsteen offered political commentary when introducing “Livin’ in the Future” off the latest album, referring to terror suspect renditions and “illegal wiretapping.”

“This is about the things you didn’t think could happen,” Springsteen said.

Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings While the six songs off the new album got warm responses, none got the instantaneous ovation that greeted the opening chords of his greatest hits, including “Born to Run,” “No Surrender,” “Promised Land,” “She’s the One” and “The Rising.”

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The 10-member band closed with “American Land,” featuring a two-accordian attack from keyboardists Danny Federici and Roy Bittan.

Fans quickly made the two shows sellouts last week, eager for the first chance in four years to hear the Garden State’s favorite son perform with the E Street Band. Tickets for the Friday show go on sale Tuesday at noon.

Before the show, several generations of fans gathered in warm sunshine on the boardwalk outside the hall.

Maida Webster, 63, was attending her 20th Springsteen show with one of her regular concert-going comrades, her daughter.

“I think it’s rare that you get any musician who appeals to so many generations,” said Dara Webster, 34, of Westport, Conn.

Her mother, a retired social worker from New Canaan, Conn., said, “I think he speaks from the heart. He’s down to earth.”

Aside from the atmospheric title track, “Magic” returns Springsteen to rock ’n’ roll, and all 11 songs are new. He released a solo acoustic effort, “Devils & Dust,” in 2005 and the folk-inspired “The Seeger Sessions” last year.

“Magic” is the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s first album with his longtime bandmates since the Sept. 11-inspired “The Rising” in 2002.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: The magic of Bruce Springsteen

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  1. Wrecking Ball Tour

    Bruce Springsteen performs on stage on May 27, 2012, in Cologne, Germany. (Peter Wafzig / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Family man

    Bruce Springsteen and his wife, Patti Scialfa, watch their daughter, Jessica Springsteen, compete at Windsor Horse Show on May 12, 2011, in Windsor, England. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. 'Sexy and I Know It'

    Bruce Springsteen, left, and Jimmy Fallon sing "Sexy and I Know It" on March 2, 2012. (Lloyd Bishop / NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Rockin' the Grammy Awards

    Bruce Springsteen, left, and Steven Van Zandt perform onstage at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on Feb. 12, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Folk heroes

    Musicians Joan Baez, left, Springsteen, center, and Pete Seeger appear onstage at the Clearwater Benefit Concert celebrating Seeger's 90th Birthday at Madison Square Garden in New York on May 3, 2009. (Bryan Bedder / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Score one for The Boss

    Springsteen and the E Street Band perform during the Super Bowl XLIII halftime show during the game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 1, 2009. (Jamie Squire / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. National pride

    Springsteen is joined by a choir as he performs "The Rising" in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the "We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration At The Lincoln Memorial" on the National Mall in Washington on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Golden boys

    Mickey Rourke, left, poses with his Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion picture-Drama with Springsteen, winner of Best original Song-Motion Picture for "The Wrestler" at the 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills on Jan. 11, 2009. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Another hopeful

    Then-Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama hugs Springsteen during a campaign rally at the Cleveland Mall on Nov. 2, 2008. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Rock the Plaza

    Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt and the rest of the E Street Band perform in Rockefeller Plaza on the TODAY show on Sept. 28, 2007. (Brad Barket / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Center of attention

    Springsteen, center, performs in the final number of an all-star tribute to his music at New York's Carnegie Hall in April 2007. Funds raised from the concert were used to support music education programs. (Jeff Christensen / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Rock union

    Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa have three children together, Evan James, Jessica Rae and Sam Ryan. Scialfa has recorded two solo albums, "Rumble Doll" in 1993 and "23rd Street Lullaby" in 2004. (Desiree Navarro / WpN) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Stories to tell

    Springsteen taped an acoustic performance for VH-1's Storytellers series at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, N.J., in September 2007. (Kevin Mazur / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. On the trail

    In 2004, Springsteen and the E Street Band joined the "Vote for Change" tour, which held concerts in swing states to raise money for MoveOn.org and encourage people to vote President George W. Bush out of office. "No Surrender" became the primary theme song for Democratic preisdential candidate Sen. John Kerry’s campaign. (Luke Frazza / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Ready for 'Magic'

    Springsteen, third from right, performed with members of the E Street Band at Shea Stadium in New York on Oct. 1, 2003. He was joined by, from left, Clarence Clemons, Max Weinberg, Patti Scialfa and Steve Van Zandt. The band released "Magic" on Oct. 2 that year. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. 9/11 tribute

    At the live broadcast of "America: A Tribute to Heroes," which benefited victims of 9/11, Springsteen opened the show with "My City in Ruins," a song originally written about Asbury Park, N.J. The 9/11 attacks prompted Springsteen and the E Street Band to release their first studio album in 18 years, "The Rising." The band kicked off "The Rising" tour on the TODAY show. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Hall of Famer

    In 1999, Springsteen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That same year, the E Street Band reunited for a reunion tour, which included a record run of 15 sold-out shows at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. (Kevin Mazur / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Charitable effort

    In 1985, Springsteen joined 44 other artists to record "We Are the World." The song was a No. 1 hit in both the United States and the United Kingdom and profits benefited the USA for Africa Foundation. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Four score

    In 1995, Springsteen picked up four Grammy awards for Song of the Year, Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, Best Rock Song and Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or TV for "Streets of Philadelphia." (Dan Groshong / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. The Big Man and The Boss

    Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons perform at the Oakland Colisium in Oakland, Calif., on Sept. 19, 1985. (Jon Sievert / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Five and out

    Springsteen met then-model Julianne Phillips in 1984 and the pair married in 1985. The union, however, was short-lived. Springsteen and Phillips divorced in 1990, and he married E Street Band backup singer Patti Scialfa in 1991. (Ron Galella / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Ax man

    Springsteen most often plays the guitar and harmonica on his albums, but he also knows how to play the mandolin, organ, piano and percussion. (Lennox McLendon / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. On the 'Edge'

    A legal battle kept Springsteen and the E Street Band from recording for two years following "Born to Run," but in 1978 the band released "Darkness on the Edge of Town," which many critics point to as a turning point in his musical evolution. That album was followed by "The River," a double album that included Springsteen’s first Top 10 single, "Hungry Heart." (Rex Features via Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Off and running

    A young Springsteen performs at New York's Bottom Line in 1975. In the summer of that year, Springsteen's career was crumbling and he was about to get dumped by his label. Then "Born to Run" was released in August and it was a rock 'n' roll masterpiece that assumed near-mythic proportion. Thirty years later a special anniversary edition of the album was released. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. 'Greetings,' fans

    Springsteen signed with Columbia records in 1972 and released "Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J." in 1973 to great critical acclaim. It wasn’t until 1975’s "Born to Run," however, that the band found its first commercial success. (Richard McCaffrey / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Jersey roots

    Bruce Springsteen grew up in Freehold, N.J., but is most often associated with the shore town of Asbury Park, where he often played in his early years with future members of the E Street Band and first developed a cult following. Here he performs at the Electric Ballrooom in Atlanta on Aug. 22, 1975. (Tom Hill / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
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